My Hopes For The New Year

I’ve always been a big goal setter.  New morning, new week, new year–it doesn’t matter.  I love the new.  Opportunity and possibility are intoxicating to me, and so the end of December (my birthday AND the beginning to a new year) is basically excitement central for me.

This December, though, instead of thinking and praying and journaling and talking enthusiastically about my goals—I mostly find myself quiet.

This year didn’t really pan out exactly as I pictured it.  I actually have accomplished a lot of the goals that I set last December.  That part isn’t surprising;  I set good goals.  But the context in which I’ve met these goals is so different than what I thought it would be.

Last December, I shared with my family that I would become a mother of two in 2014.

That is true.  It happened about five months later than planned, and with a different baby and set of circumstances.

Last December, I set some business goals.

I met those goals, but with a different line of work than I had planned on.

Last December, I set goals—picturing how I’d live them out in my daily routine, house, neighborhood, schedule, life.

My day-to-day life looks completely different now.  We moved, had an extra child, and both changed jobs.  I wash my dishes in a new sink, walk my dog in a new neighborhood (and less often…sorry, pup), mother one child with less attention than I could give her in the past, somehow meet the needs of another too, work for a new organization, and feel a different weight and responsibility from my husband’s job than before.  I went from feeling like a confident mom for whom mothering was easy, to a mom who has to ask Jesus daily for wisdom and patience and ability and energy because being the primary caregiver for these two little lives is the hardest job I’ve ever had.  I’ve implemented the spirit of those goals into my new life and situation, but I certainly didn’t picture all of this last December.

Honestly? After a few great years in a row, this year held many struggles for me.  Most surprised me.  What got me through was the knowledge that “I the Lord do not change…” (Malachi 3:6) and “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).  Nothing was a surprise to Him.  Nothing changed His goodness.  And I trusted Him.

2014 wasn’t my favorite year in history, and it certainly isn’t what I pictured—but on the eve of 2015, I find myself at peace with the struggles, journey, and joys the year held for me.

And maybe it’s because of that peace—a peace not dependent on my circumstances being easy or happy or predictable, a peace drawn only from the Lord—that I feel no need or desire to set goals this year.

I don’t need to improve dramatically at anything; I just want to continue growing in general in the roles I have been placed in.  I don’t want to get passionate about new things; I want to choose joy in the current things.  I don’t need to start anything new; I need to keep going with what has been started for me.  I have less and less need for MYSELF to make changes and more and more desire for the Lord to increase in me instead.

My mom took a few photos in August that sum up my desires (and challenges) for the year ahead.

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IMG_5636My hope for 2015? That I can savor and embrace what I already have—the challenges, the joys, and the unexpected moments.  They are all gifts from God. And I want eyes that see and a heart that says thank you.

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Loving God in the Midst of Mess

This post is going to be short and simple, but it’s what I have today.

A few weeks ago, I was having a bit of a bummer day.  David had left early that morning for a meeting, I was drowning in to-dos, and Riley napped poorly and just wanted to be held.  I felt guilty for overlooking Zoe’s needs to tend to Riley, for having a house that was so messy, for having uncompleted tasks all over the house, and for the fact that I was struggling to be joyful and patient through it all.

Why is this so hard? I asked God.  Why don’t I have this DOWN by now? 

In response, He brought this series of pictures to mind.

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Thanksgiving beach trip 2013

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Thanksgiving beach trip 2014

Oh.  That’s why 🙂 Life is constantly changing, and my goal shouldn’t be mastery of a life stage.  (That stage will inevitably change anyway!)

Better goals: seeking the Lord’s presence and will, pursuing contentment and joy, and loving others, myself, and the Lord no matter where I’m at.

So—the girls stagger their naps so that I have no time to myself between the hours of 5:20 am–7:30 pm? (This happens to be today’s scenario). Thank the Lord for the gift of my girls and for the opportunity to serve Him well through loving them, and seek His energy and patience to help me make it through.

Work deadlines that feel out of reach? Seek God’s guidance in how to structure my time, and pray for His help in working efficiently and effectively in the time that I know He will provide.

House is disastrous? Thank God as I clean for the possessions we have, for the house that keeps me warm, for the gift of my health that allows me to bend up and down as I pick up the toys.

Feeling frustrated with myself because this is hard? Remind myself that it IS, but that I can do all things through Him—and that He loves me for me, not for my efforts, outcomes, or the ease with which I do this all.  Give myself some grace. (And maybe a latte from time to time…have you seen this “Blank Space” parody video? HILARIOUS).

On that musical note, I’m off to practice what I just preached with 3 foot naptime rebel…wish me luck!

Happy Birthday, Dear Zoe

Two years ago today, I was meeting this sweet girl for the first time.

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It’s funny, the things you hear over and over again as an adoptive parent.  Some of the most commonly repeated phrases I hear are, “what a blessing you are to this little girl!”

“She’s so lucky! She hit the jackpot!”

“You changed her life forever!”

Over and over I reply: she’s a blessing to US.  WE hit the jackpot and it wasn’t luck; it was the purposeful design of our gracious God.  SHE changed OUR life, and we are so grateful.

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My favorite explanation of adoption ever was something my friend’s almost-three-year-old said when she met Zoe for the first time.  She said, “Miss Sarah wanted a baby, and prayed for a baby, and the Spirit of God came and gave her a baby!”

Thank you, Spirit of God, for this beautiful baby—for all she has taught me, for all she will teach me, and for how she has changed my life forever.